Are scans safe for me and my baby?

Are ultrasounds safe?
Ultrasound sound scans are being used in pregnancy for a very long time now. There are no harmful effects of Ultrasound Scan when it is used properly and within guidelines. The ultrasound technicians and doctors are well trained for this. Research has found no link between ultrasound and birth weight, childhood cancers, dyslexia, or problems with eyesight or hearing.

How will the  way the ultrasound works affect my baby?
The way Ultrasound scan works is that it sends sound waves through through womb (uterus), which bounce off the baby’s body.
The machine then listens to the echoes from the baby’s body and converts into an image on the screen. This help the sonographer see your baby’s position and movements.

Why does the ultrasound probe feels warm during the scan?

Initially you will find it cold because the technician will apply conductive gel to the probe. However as the scan progress, the probe gets warmer because the equipment generates a small amount of heat which is absorbed by the part of the body that’s being scanned.
Antenatal scans uses low intensity scan waves to get 2D pictures of your baby. Apart from it being low intensity, these are spread over real large areas which causes very minimal heating. Moreover all these low heat is absorbed by the amniotic fluid around the baby.
The most routine type of scanning is used to get 2D pictures of your baby. This uses a low intensity of ultrasound spread over a large area, which causes very minimal heating. What’s more, the fluid around your baby and any movements she may make helps to spread any heat. This may help to reassure you further.For 3D scans, the machine combines all the 2D images and coverts in a 3D pictures.
Some hospitals have a 4D ultrasound which provides video or moving images. These requires higher power output than 2D images. Hence the doctor will advise against such a 4D scan at least during the initial state of pregnancy.

Why do I seem to be having extra scans compared to to other pregnant women?
Extra scans are advised in of the following cases:

– had complications in a previous pregnancy
– have diabetes
– have high blood pressure
– have a BMI of over 35
– are expecting twins or more

I want a Souvenir Scan, what should I do?

Please do not schedule private scans to get souvenir copy of your baby. It is best to ask your sonographer for a copy while doing routine scans.

Are Doppler scans safe?

Doppler scans are not recommended during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is because they work by work by concentrating a beam of sound in a small area. This leads to more heat generation. Even then one has to hold the probe at one point for a long period of time. Doppler scans are used to see the flow of blood which is constantly moving. This helps to dissipate any heat.

If your doctor has advised Doppler scan, it could mean that she wants to check whether the placenta is working as it should, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your baby.
As always, you should check with Doctor with any questions you might have about your scan. You can read about the dangers of radiation from cell phones and laptops here.

Morph wishes you a happy and safe pregnancy.

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